RS: For those that may be unfamiliar, could you tell us a little about yourself, how you got to where you are, and alittle about two birds?
ES-C: Erica Sartini-Combs here. I am a co-founder of Two Birds Casting and serve as the director of casting. Two Birds Casting is a casting house which freelances all over the Chicagoland area. Working with theatres and companies in various capacities, from casting consulting to full scale cast direction. You can learn more about us at twobirdscasting.com
RS: How many shows do you estimate 2 Birds have cast to date?
ES-C: 2BC has worked on about 60 productions since our launch in January 2010.
RS: On average how many head shots do you receive per/year?
ES-C: There is no telling! We usually receive about 300 per submission process.
RS: What are some common mistakes you see actors making when choosing and submitting a headshot to your casting group?
ES-C: Many actors get tripped up by choosing the most flattering photo. It's not helpful just to have a pretty/handsome portrait for a headshot. What we are looking for is YOU in the image. Your shot is your marketing tool and should tell us something about you other than that you can take a nice photo. I want to know your personality from your shot. Make us feel something when we look at the image.
RS: When shopping for a headshot photographer, what should actors be on the look out for?
ES-C: I would advise actors to ask around. Look at other folk's shots and then ask who took their headshots. Word of mouth in Chicago is great and can be trusted. So ask around!
RS: In your professional opinion, what makes a good headshot?
ES-C: A great headshot looks like you. I know the person who walks in that door is reflected in the shot.
RS: Are there any trends in casting you see that actors and photographers should be aware of?
ES-C: I think for our region its important to shoot with natural light, be aware of the colors you are wearing and the background - don't be too monochromatic. Don't print on glossy paper and always staple your resume to your headshot.
RS: For new photographers out there, is there any advice you could offer to those trying to break into the headshot business?
ES-C: Take the time to get coffee/tea with the actor prior to shooting. The more personable you are the more successful the shoot tend to be when an actor is relaxed with the photographer.
RS: When taking someone’s head shots, what should photographers focus on to achieve successful shots?
ES-C: Again, having a comfortable client is very important so they show their true selves in the images. Allow for at least 3 outfit changes,4 would be ideal. Also don't forget to get a mix of smiles vs non smiling so they have a wealth to choose from for commercial, tv/film, theatre, etc.
RS: What do you look for in a photographer before recommending them?
ES-C: If I've picked up headshots and asked the actor who shot the photo, head great things about the photographer and know they price fair - then they will be recommended.
RS: What do you look for in an actor before inviting them to an audition?
ES-C: It depends on the project. Different projects call for different needs, however I can say I must have context and trust for someone before they are invited to a session, unless its a general audition.